There are some things about growing your blog that all bloggers who read about blogging know.
- Comment on others' blogs and make meaningful connections
- Provide helpful, shareable content
- Post on a schedule
- Share your own content (and share it efficiently)
All of these things are easy to follow and can be built into your routine.
But on the other hand, a lot of things are easier said than done.
It took me a few months to spin my attitude around about my blog. I was always waiting for the right time to start posting regularly. To start consistently commenting on other people's blogs. Sure, you can spit content out and hope people come to you, but sitting in a blog silo will get you nowhere.
The truth of the matter? I was making excuses for myself.
Examples of Recent Successes from Hello Brio Blog Posts
In the past month or so, I've seen tremendous results from some blog posts I've published recently where the focus was to help people.
My Twitter Guide published on 11/25 got really awesome feedback on… Twitter. But I'm still seeing some feedback, like being included in an AmpliFound roundup. And people have submitted it to ScoopIt and I'm seeing a number of tweets about it still.
In a rare personal post, I talked about how I spend my Me Time (and also talked about my insecurities on including personal posts). From there, Chrystina blogged about it, and then in a fun ripple effect, Caitlyn also blogged about it.
I've also seen a significant increase in blog comments (before it was close-to-crickets) as a result of regularly reading and commenting on blogs.
With all of these things combined, I'd like to share some real how-to's on how to grow your blog (and have fun along the way).
Applicable Tips for Growing Your Blog Community
Here are my best tips for how to share your content and make meaningful connections with other bloggers that will get you some blogging friends and therefore more traffic.
I hope this post doesn't fall into the category of "just another blog post about how to grow your blog".
This is coming from a passionate place because I've just started to see the return from what I've put in the past month or two of jump-starting my blog, and I'm ecstatic about the results. I'd love to know what you think in the comments below.
Comment Genuinely on Blogs
Taking a couple of steps back, it's important that you think about authentic interaction. In the real world, if you are hustling your own agenda to others and aren't being a good listener or a good friend, people are going to see that immediately and avoid you. The same is true in the blogging community.
So when bloggers share the tip of "leave meaningful comments" in order to grow your blog, they mean it. Spend time and read the post. Comment on it with a personal anecdote or ask a question. If you really don't have anything meaty to say, don't comment just for the heck of it.
I'm still on the fence of sharing your URL within your comment. If there's a box for your URL, don't type it into your comment.
If you post an insightful comment, most likely the blog author or other commenters will try to click on your name in order to learn more about you.
But I'd also vote that this name-to-blog-link isn't intuitive. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Provide Useful and Shareable Content on Your Blog, Regularly
Providing helpful articles that people can bookmark or pin is key. Doing it consistently is also important, but I'd like to vote that quality is more important than quantity.
On Hello Brio, I get a lot of visitors to my Hand Lettering Roundups simply because it's eye candy. But I get way more meaningful engagement when I post a tutorial (and a sense of "cool, I helped someone!").
So, I'd vote that while fluffier pieces are fun and a way to get content up on your blog regularly, make sure you have a good ratio of fluff to evergreen content.
My best formula is 1 to 3 . For about every 2 to 3 posts you publish, make sure 1 is really kick ass. And then promote the heck out of it.
Whether you schedule these posts in advance is up to you, just make sure you have a realistic schedule that you can adhere to so it stays fun without becoming a chore (because that mentality will also cause your blog post quality to suffer).
You Get What You Put In, But Be Picky
Like anything, blogging is what you make of it. I know that's so lame and cliche to share, but it's so true. The same goes for anything: personal social networks, blog related social networks, personal relationships, professional environments… I could go on and on.
Don't spread yourself out too thin. In social media, choose the right amount of social networks that you can actively publish to and interact with (i.e. don't open a Twitter account just to have your posts automatically push out every time you hit Publish). Don't start a Facebook page just because you think you should have one. Don't start a Twitter account because you've been told to do it.
Choose what's right for you and go with it; you'll build a much more engaged community that way.
Choose your must-read blogs wisely. And don't be afraid to edit your list. In Feedly, I'm subscribed to a number of blogs, but only a few go into the Must Reads category. These are the blogs I'm choosing to actively engage with, either because that person is super awesome or because I truly get a lot out of reading their blog. I don't mean to make it sound like a popularity contest; popularity only goes so far. Helpful content will go much further.
Between social media, commenting on other blogs, and publishing regularly, you may feel overwhelmed. The good news is that no one's forcing you to do any of it (provided you aren't blogging for your salary), so choose what's right for you and run with it. As I commented on Kiki's blog post about obligations, it's good to have high expectations for yourself and be motivated, but you also don't want to push yourself past the point where it's fun. Create your own goals, whether they're written down or loosey goosey, and don't beat yourself up if you don't meet them.
The Most Important Thing About Blogging
Unless you are blogging professionally, a blog is usually a creative outlet and a platform to share things.
The most important thing that I've realized recently is that blogging shouldn't be a chore. Jen really hit this idea home for me.
Good luck in growing your blog.
If you're in it for the right reasons, finding the time to interact with others and create content won't be a chore. It will come easily.
The most important thing (…and I must note: this post was originally titled "Blog Growth: Start Doing, Stop Reading About How To Do It") is that you vow to yourself to start doing. You probably already have these tips burned into your brain, but maybe this is the 3rd or 4th time you've heard it. I hope these tips push you to start doing, and stop reading about how to do it!
What has worked for you in growing your blog? Or what is holding you back?
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